Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says her department will allocate R103 million over the next three years to the SA National Parks aimed at fighting the scourge of rhino poaching.
Briefing journalists in Parliament on her department's Budget Vote for the 2014/15 financial year, Minister Molewa said rhino poaching remained a major threat to the extinction of the species and her department will do all it can through interventions and partnerships to fight the scourge.
"Addressing this scourge is not simple and there is no single solution.
"We will continue to strengthen holistic and integrated interventions, and explore new innovative options to ensure the long-term survival of the species," she said.
She said engagements with key African countries such as Mozambique will continue to be prioritised.
The minister also said pen has been put to paper to formalise an international agreement with Mozambican authorities to strengthen working relations with the country.
She said the agreement would also pave the way for legislative improvements to be introduced to fight poaching.
"Our engagements with Far East countries, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong and People's Republic of China to address the demand are bearing fruit," she said.
Minister to head appeals for enviro-mining authorisations
Minister Molewa said legislative changes have led to her department being given the powers to be the regulatory arm for all mining authorisations that will have environmental aspects to them.
"The Minister of Mineral Resources will now issue mining-related environmental impact assessment and waste licence authorisations in accordance with environmental legislative provisions.
"The President has assented to the necessary amendments to the National Environmental Management, Waste, Air Quality Management and Water Services Acts," she said.
She said the next financial year will see the development and publication of all the necessary regulations and guidelines, which will eventually give effect to the improved regulatory system.
Meanwhile, the Minister said South Africa had not fully tapped into the potential that oceans hold in terms of contributing to growth, as well as the commercial and industrial opportunities that the sector holds.
She said Cabinet had approved a White Paper on the National Environmental Management of the Oceans after her department published a Green Paper last year.
"The number of jobs linked to the ocean economy could rise to 0.8 to 1.0 million and possibly treble the current contribution of 316 000 jobs.
"We are developing a five to ten year strategic plan to unlock growth in these sectors using a rapid assessment and development methodology used in Malaysia.
"We have named this Malaysian approach Operation Phakisa, to emphasise its critical role in fast-tracking delivery on the priorities included in the National Development Plan 2030.
"President Jacob Zuma will launch this programme on 19 July in Durban."